Spam Levels Back Up Again, According to Google's Postini Filtering Service

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. — I do not want computer spam, said Sam I Am. But it keeps on coming anyway.

Spam is back up and has topped levels from earlier this year, Information Week reports.

This is despite the Federal Trade Commission's June takedown of California-based "black hat" Internet service provider 3FN (aka Pricewert LLC and APS Telecom).

Google-owned Postini, an online spam and virus filtering service, said second-quarter levels for 2009 were 53 percent higher than in the first quarter and 6 percent higher than in the same period for 2008.

Web and e-mail security company MXLogic tracked spam volume as rising 51 percent in June, 35 percent in May and 40 percent in April. Spam is still the highest percentage of received e-mail, even if shuffled off to spam folders or blockers. Plus, that volume is at its highest point since December 2006 when image-based spam was at its peak, MXLogic reported.

Spam took a 70 percent drop in November 2008 with the closure of ISP McColo, but was back up to high levels within four months, according to Google's Amanda Kleha.

The 3FN/Pricewert shutdown June 4 saw a 30 percent drop, but spammers and scammers appeared to have quickly moved to other servers and hosts.

The Register reports that security services such as MessageLabs, now a part of Symantec, arrived at similar findings.

"Spammers have learned the importance of having a backup for command and control channels," said Paul Wood, MessageLabs Intelligence senior analyst.

June also saw a rise in payload viruses attached through e-mails. MX Logic warns of possible Fourth of July-themed spam and botnet attacks coming with what will be a long weekend for many, the kind of computer fireworks no one needs.

Some adult sites caught in the 3FN/Pricewert takedown have reportedly suffered losses as high as thousands of dollars daily due to service cutoffs, while others quickly switched to other hosting companies.

Though some attorneys have attacked the FTC for taking too wide an approach, law enforcement officials counter that 3FN/Pricewert was among the worst of Internet crime operations. The feds said the company was well aware of its clients' spam, bot and in some cases child porn content, even soliciting such customers, and had to be stopped and shut down.